New Book (and Giveaway): “Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less”

Happy Monday!

A new book dropped today, and thought maybe some of you might like a free copy of it ;)

It’s called Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less, and comes from the team who started the popular site of the same name a few years back, Whose main goal is to “clarify, simplify and translate every day complex financial decisions” onto lil’ ol napkins for your edification.

A pretty clever idea, and now you can get the best hits in a nifty coffee table book!

Entry rules are below (we’ve got 3 copies to give out!), and here’s more about the book itself:

Thanks Harper Collins for partnering up with us!

Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less

by Tina Hay

napkin finance book

From Amazon:

Surveys have found that two thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test, and nine in ten believe personal finance should become a required high school course.

Tina Hay understands the confusion. While attending Harvard Business School, she struggled to keep up with classmates–many of whom came from the banking world–when it came to understanding jargon and numbers-heavy concepts. Tina developed a visual learning strategy using sketches and infographics that helped her succeed in her studies and master even the most complex financial topics.

Since then, Tina founded Napkin Finance, a thriving company built on the concept of taking seemingly overwhelming topics—such as budgeting, investments, and retirement accounts—and turning them into simple, skimmable explanations. Now, she’s synthesized the most important content into this personal finance handbook. Napkin Finance includes dozens of individual learning modules, on topics ranging from credit scores to paying off student loans to economics and blockchain.

The first illustrated guide that makes finance fun and accessible, Napkin Finance can help even the most numbers-phobic reader learn about complex financial topics without dying of boredom.

More info here –> Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less

Sample pages napkins you’ll find in the book:

napkin finance - balance sheet

napkin finance - credit cardss

napkin finance - taxes

(I wish these were ACTUAL doodles vs designs overlaid on napkins, but I guess these are much more legible so I’ll give them a pass… Remember The Index Card that went viral years ago though on what you need to know about investing?? That was nice and clear! ;))

Want a Copy of Napkin Finance?

Answer this question below in the comments or via email, and you’ll automatically be entered to win:

What’s ONE thing you wish would be explained clearly on a napkin?

It could be financial or otherwise, just curious more than anything what you’d love to see ;) I’d like to see one on car maintenance as I suck with cars, haha… Took me 2 months to finally figure out how to turn off the dang oil change light!

Share your answer by the end of this weekend (1/5/2020) and you’ll have a chance to win one of THREE copies we have… Good luck!! And U.S. residents only, I’m afraid… Though of course you can always pick up the book if you want to spend a few dollars on it :)


j. money signature

PS: If you missed the winners of the last giveaway we did, here they were: “Magic of Tidying Up”: Miss Jacques, “Automatic Millionaire”: Rachael, “Four Tendencies”: Donna D. Congrats guys!

Links to book above are Amazon affiliate links…

UPDATE: Giveaway now over! Big congrats to Nicole, Fe, and Kathy Tyson for winning a free copy of the book. Hope you gals enjoy! Thanks for participating, everyone!

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  1. Joshua Russell December 30, 2019 at 6:45 AM

    A way to understand dividends including the why, when, how, what and where behind them.

  2. Jackie December 30, 2019 at 6:54 AM

    I would like the Napkin Finance book, wish it had how to budget better on passive income and pay $20K annually on health insurance…..hmmmm.

  3. Carolyn December 30, 2019 at 7:15 AM

    Dear (Beer) Napkin Finance,

    Please help me to not “Cry in my beer” by showing me the differences (pros/cons) between a Roth 401 and regular 401 so I can manage my retirement funds better. It would be great to have a happy hour financial napkin that could address the same for the traditional IRA and Roth IRA too.


    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:27 AM

      Hah! Love it!

  4. Elise December 30, 2019 at 7:19 AM

    I need a “how to understand health care costs” napkin. I never understand my bills from the doctor or hospital or how the insurance d codes what I’m supposed to pay.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:27 AM

      They really are the worst :(

  5. Chris December 30, 2019 at 7:20 AM

    I would love to know how investments and their fees work better. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Jake December 30, 2019 at 7:20 AM

    “how the NASDAQ and Dow work”…for real. Like what stocks are included? Why is it important? I’m lost.

  7. Jodi Scarpa December 30, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    How the NFL draft works.

    1. Fred Fenstermaker December 30, 2019 at 1:24 PM

      How about explaining the NFL’s pass interference review rule this season (ugh!)

  8. Mackenzie S December 30, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    I wish home buying/selling pros and cons could be explained on a napkin. There is so much to consider!

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:29 AM

      As long as it includes that *renting* is just as fine an option for people as well :)

  9. Shannon December 30, 2019 at 7:33 AM

    I’d love to know how to calculate ESPP gains on taxes!

  10. Tracy Callahan December 30, 2019 at 7:36 AM

    How to estimate the right amount of taxes each quarter on my side gig.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:30 AM

      I cheat and use an accountant for that :) Best money I spend all year! Haha…

  11. Samara Diggs December 30, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    investing in low index funds

  12. Nicole December 30, 2019 at 7:54 AM

    Back door roths (I realize this is prob simple but I’m confused), how to pick funds in a 401k, pros and cons of roboinvesting. Basically everything, I should probably get this book

  13. Michelle Marcus December 30, 2019 at 8:03 AM

    I could use some napkins on real estate (buying a home).

  14. Tammy Highfield December 30, 2019 at 8:28 AM

    How to develop good money habits in your 20s and what are the most important ones?

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:32 AM

      Nail down spending less than you earn and you’ve got 50% of it right there :)

  15. SUSAN December 30, 2019 at 8:37 AM

    How to simply and easily withdraw the money once you have enough.

  16. Carrie Willard December 30, 2019 at 8:52 AM

    What’s ONE thing you wish would be explained clearly on a napkin?

    Best investment choices when you’re self employed and have high monthly expenses (7 kids)

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:35 AM

      Wow! Now that’s a full life! Gonna have to click on over to your site now and learn more… Thanks for stopping by :)

  17. Heather Mentzer December 30, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    How to figure out how much money is enough to retire comfortably.

  18. Sharon Hansen December 30, 2019 at 9:03 AM

    The difference between investment tools such as a traditional Roth, IRA, etc and why each should be chosen.

  19. Rosanne December 30, 2019 at 9:04 AM

    I would love to see a breakdown of energy grids and how credits work explained on a napkin! One whole semester on energy law and I still struggle with it!

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:36 AM

      I’d like to see that one too!

  20. Matt Trask December 30, 2019 at 9:05 AM

    “What’s ONE thing you wish would be explained clearly on a napkin?”

    How a hospital arrives at the decision to charge what it does for various operations and procedures.

  21. Jessy December 30, 2019 at 9:08 AM

    As I head toward retirement, I would like to see my best Medicare choices explained on a napkin, but I think it would take more than one napkin! Napkin finance! What a very cool concept!

  22. Curtis Prescott December 30, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    Explain the power of compounding

  23. Adam December 30, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    I’d LOVE to see more on what the folks at Millennial Revolution call their ‘Yield Shield’. Once we’ve got $X,XXX,XXX stashed away — say $400k in a brokerage account and $700k tax-advantaged, for instance — how should we optimally manage and invest and withdraw to maximize available funds without touching principal?

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:38 AM

      Good one!

  24. Danielle Stover December 30, 2019 at 9:21 AM

    A logical approach to investing while concurrently paying off high debt balances (e.g. Mortgage, student loans).

  25. Sarah December 30, 2019 at 9:29 AM

    I would like to see an example of budget percentages for a some one who is juggling a home budget and a side hustle budget.

  26. Michael December 30, 2019 at 9:31 AM

    The difference between a typical 401k or Roth 401k through your job to a 401k created on your own through Betterment. I also feel more information should be available on the conversion ladder for those of us who have a 401k/Roth 401k.

  27. Kirstin Carley December 30, 2019 at 9:32 AM

    I would love to see an easy way for kid friendly budgeting! My son is starting to earn money via chores and birthdays, but I havent found a really good kid budgeting format for him yet. The 3 piggy banks, his own savings account… nada. Thanks!

  28. Mary Ann A Webb December 30, 2019 at 9:43 AM

    How to be financially secure when your spouse (husband) has become a quadriplegic and can no longer work.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:40 AM

      Damn, sorry to hear that :(

  29. Maggie December 30, 2019 at 9:46 AM

    Paying down student loan debt vs. investing! It’s such a big issue for (my) this generation!

  30. jay December 30, 2019 at 9:49 AM

    what is “premium financing” for life insurance?

  31. Meigan December 30, 2019 at 9:55 AM

    A step by step guide on how to go about opening a Vangard account, and which funds are best to go with.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:41 AM

      Try calling them up! They’ve got people there who can help walk you through it :)

  32. Martin December 30, 2019 at 10:03 AM

    How to turn that napkin back into money, after being used?

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:42 AM

      Put it in a book and sell it :)

  33. Mark December 30, 2019 at 10:04 AM

    I would like to understand the tax system better,

  34. anon December 30, 2019 at 10:05 AM

    I’d want to know how to get the hospital to charge me the negotiated rates on a scheduled, routine doctor’s appointment instead of charging me literally $2,000 (!) for a basic, should-only-be-twenty-bucks cholesterol test.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:42 AM


  35. Fe December 30, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    Best tax strategies to self employment side hustle? (Perhaps, I would love to find parenthood strategies in a napkin…have you seen any?!?)

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 10:46 AM

      I’d like to see that last one too :)

  36. Andrea December 30, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    Where to save my money – IRA? 401(k)? Savings account? Money market account? High yield bonds? Should there be more than one account?

  37. Craig December 30, 2019 at 10:14 AM

    What’s next? As in, I’m ready to quit my day job, what should I do next?

  38. Margaret December 30, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    Financing plans for Mixed-Finance affordable housing development – work is kicking my butt.

  39. Suz December 30, 2019 at 10:22 AM

    I’d like to see tax-efficient withdrawal strategies outlined on a napkin.

  40. Mat Luoma December 30, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    How to shift retirement accounts: from growth accumulation — over to income streams . — so that when you retire the income stream from retirement assets means you don’t need to sell off the assets each year.

  41. JB December 30, 2019 at 11:04 AM

    I would like a napkin on the best way to fund and use your HSA! Thanks and Happy New Year J Money.

  42. Steven December 30, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    If I win this book will be a gift to a money coaching client from J Money:)

    For me probably self employment taxes, haha my accountant will help with this of course.

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 1:30 PM

      Hope the coaching gig is going well for ya! I miss it sometimes :)

  43. Brandon December 30, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    I’d like the following explained on a cocktail napkin: “What women want…”

  44. Kim December 30, 2019 at 11:37 AM

    Manually tracking capital gains and dividends — it’s boring, but since I have an HSA in California (one of two states that taxes HSAs), it’s something I have to worry about. I’ve seen several posts about it on the Boglegeads forum but they’re pretty jargon-heavy!

    Non-financial? My husband bought me an amazing camera for Christmas last year, and I still can’t figure out how to use it…

  45. Jen Johnson December 30, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    I would love to see real estate investing with rental properties explained on a napkin. I’m sure there are a lot of hidden cost that most of us aren’t aware of. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book. This would be great to intoduce to my teenagers. They have limited attention spans and don’t love to hear me talk to them about finances!

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 1:31 PM

      Gotta get them hooked on blogs!! Bound to be one out there they can relate to :)

  46. Jon December 30, 2019 at 11:45 AM

    I would love to see a napkin explanation of women. (Might take a whole roll of paper towels though.)

  47. Michael McGowan December 30, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    I’d like to see life goals put out simply. Oh and maybe an interesting fact about it: start one to finish one.

  48. Jane December 30, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    I would love to see a nifty graphic comparing emotional stress when not managing your money to the amount of time required to manage your money. Sort of like – high stress about money at the point where you are spending zero time managing it compared to very low stress about money when you are spending ____ hours a week managing it. An accurate graph, though, would have to show how the in the beginning you spend a lot of time on it because you are playing catch up and then you routinize it and spend less time on it. Let’s face it – people change for emotional (not rational) reasons and there are GREAT emotional reasons to manage your money (i.e., your stress level about money goes WAY down).

    1. J. Money December 30, 2019 at 1:34 PM

      That would be interesting to see!

  49. Lisa H December 30, 2019 at 1:53 PM

    How about one for each of us?
    My husband wants to know if it’s worth flipping houses. I want to know how the MLB winter meetings/trades work!

  50. Jenn H December 30, 2019 at 2:28 PM

    I’d love to see the most simple and efficient way to organize personal and business finances on a napkin!

  51. Kate December 30, 2019 at 3:49 PM

    I wish a napkin could explain what to invest in after we pay off our mortgage in 2020.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:33 PM


  52. Margarita Loases December 30, 2019 at 4:23 PM

    How in the world to handle student loan debt when it IS JUST such an insurmountable amount. A real break down and comparison of paying or just letting Dept. of Education take 15% of earnings for the rest of your life. Shame embarrassment and absolute dread keeps folks stuck. It also looks like loan holders have given out bad advice such as here let’s have you pay $50 a month for 1 year that way your loan is “rehabilitated” small print “we are going to roll over all the interest and it will now be your principle which we are going to charge you 8% interest on. IT WILL NEVER GO AWAY…unless you win the lottery.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:34 PM

      a huge problem out there for sure :(

  53. Jacquelyn December 30, 2019 at 5:37 PM

    Self-employment taxes and healthcare options. The ACA has not worked in my favor!

  54. Mary Weidenhof December 30, 2019 at 7:25 PM

    I want to gift this book to my children who are in their mid 20’s

  55. Jessica Olson December 30, 2019 at 7:32 PM

    Explanation of the back door roth!

  56. Dollar Revolution December 30, 2019 at 7:51 PM

    Would love to see the value of a company match on someone’s 401k on a napkin sketch. It’s something many overlook while paying down debt.

  57. Francis December 30, 2019 at 7:54 PM

    Warren Buffett’s handwriting on his napkin outlining how I can get to a $5.0M net worth by 2022 while we are having lunch with him.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:36 PM

      Yes please on that second one!

      A friend of mine once ran into both Warren AND Mark Cuban at a Dairy Queen having a meeting! And the crazier part is that no one else noticed them! :)

  58. Anne Schnedl December 30, 2019 at 8:48 PM

    Annual reports and other required reporting documents. They clearly have tons of info in them, how to glean what is important (and even better – understand it and know if/when action is needed).

  59. Stuart Conover December 30, 2019 at 9:02 PM

    I would say the various investing/returement account types and differences between them.

  60. Avicado December 30, 2019 at 10:14 PM

    I’d like a clear explanation of where the best home values are in my city.

  61. Donna December 30, 2019 at 10:40 PM

    I wish someone would have explained/shown me that the market always goes up. It may zigzag up and down along the way, but over time it always goes up.

  62. Heather December 30, 2019 at 10:52 PM

    How to calculate “pot” in Pot Limit Omaha Poker. Makes my head hurt.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:38 PM

      Yeah, much more fun just PLAYING it :)

  63. Jeff December 30, 2019 at 11:24 PM


    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:38 PM

      Stop, haha…

  64. Kathy Tyson December 31, 2019 at 1:40 AM

    How to not screw up my kids.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      As the nurse told me the day we brought home our first kid – “you can never love a child too much! Just do that and you’ll be fine!”

  65. Hutch December 31, 2019 at 2:30 AM

    How ones environment can impact quality of life.

  66. Amy December 31, 2019 at 4:52 AM

    On a napkin, I would finally like someone to explain WHY THE CHICKEN CROSSED THE ROAD!!! lol

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:39 PM


      But then all the jokes would have to go away!!! :)

  67. Vida December 31, 2019 at 9:36 AM

    I’d love to see a napkin explain orbital mechanics (i.e., astrophysics). Neal DeGrasse Tyson could write this!

  68. Lynda December 31, 2019 at 11:08 AM

    i work in dialysis so i wish renal failure and renal diet could be explained on a napkin for my patients!

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 2:40 PM

      That makes me sad :(

  69. Kat December 31, 2019 at 3:53 PM

    The basic needed documents of estate planning. What everyone should have (at a minimum) and who might need a trust and why!

    1. J. Money December 31, 2019 at 5:15 PM


      And after years of delaying ourselves (!!!), we’re finally getting ours in place and notarized next week!! Such a process to go through especially with all the things you need to consider (guardianship, advanced directives, trustees, etc), but man does it feel good once you get to the finish line, haha… It’s no wonder so many don’t have them though – it’s such a pain, not gonna lie :(

  70. M L Fisher December 31, 2019 at 7:17 PM

    Opening a Roth vs Traditional IRA

  71. Nick K January 1, 2020 at 9:57 AM

    For the Napkin Finance book, I wish there was a way to detail a simple explanation of how capital gains works and short term/long term, gains/loss to maximize your taxes.

  72. Carol in Mpls January 1, 2020 at 10:26 AM

    Dear Napkin Finance,

    So, ‘they’ say the economy is doing well…

    If that’s true, then why are wages stagnating? Why is it bad for the economy for workers to receive higher wages? What the heck does inflation have to do with having money in your pocket to buy actual stuff one needs? Just wondering, as it doesn’t make sense for me. I’m totally in the “think global, buy local” world as well.

    1. J. Money January 1, 2020 at 10:28 AM

      Deep thoughts today!!

      Happy New Year! :)

  73. Jeremy W January 1, 2020 at 4:03 PM

    A table reflecting compound interest geared towards kids (ages 18 and younger) that show how much an account would have after x number of years.

  74. Dena January 1, 2020 at 9:07 PM

    I’d like to see a napkin explaining when it’s worthwhile to hold onto debt if interest rates are extremely low. For example if you can refinance your 35k student loans at less than 2 percent interest to be paid over five years and invest the money that would have gone to that loan in mutual funds that can make more than that, is it worthwhile? What about a house mortgage at 3.5 percent? Is it worth paying it down early or if you’re consistent about investing that extra money instead in stock is that better?

    1. J. Money January 2, 2020 at 7:48 AM

      A popular topic among us $$ nerds! :)

      Those who decide things based on *numbers* will typically root for the “hold the debt and invest” route since it does make more sense financially when interest rates are low, however those who are more *emotional* will tend to go for the “no debt and sleep better at night” strategy instead. Then there’s people like me who do what *excites* me the most which sometimes will be the investing route, and others the debt clearing route :)

      Unfortunately there’s no real answer, only the one that fits with YOU the best!

  75. Tommy A January 1, 2020 at 10:15 PM

    On a Napkin, I would really like to see auto and home insurance explained, in particular what coverage you actually need for the age of your vehicle/house, and how to go about getting the best combined rates.

  76. Regi January 1, 2020 at 10:52 PM

    How to set your child up to be a millionaire and “retire” by 30.

  77. Lea January 2, 2020 at 7:40 AM

    This is non financial but extremely relevant to my life right now. I’d love to see “how to put your infant to sleep so he sleeps thru the night” explained on a napkin.

    1. J. Money January 2, 2020 at 8:03 AM

      Amen to that!

      Literally woke up on the floor of my kid’s room this morning – he was good for a while but now wakes up once a night screaming for me and will only go back to sleep if I come in and sleep next to his crib, womp womp…

      Good thing we love them so much :)

  78. Mike January 2, 2020 at 10:32 AM

    How to find a great used, reliable car with no fancy electronics or mechanical issues.

  79. Rachel Howard January 2, 2020 at 7:45 PM

    The difference between a 401K and a Roth IRA! :)

  80. Alan January 3, 2020 at 8:15 PM

    What really drives a stock price up and down?

  81. Suzy January 4, 2020 at 10:11 AM

    What’s ONE thing you wish would be clearly explained on a napkin?

    ‘Paying off a mortgage VS investing the same amount’

  82. Tali Lerner January 4, 2020 at 2:56 PM

    the rule of 72 to double your money and how years are the actual key to saving

  83. Reynaldo Bazan January 4, 2020 at 11:33 PM

    How to calculate how much money I need to get out of debt and retire.

  84. Tracy January 5, 2020 at 5:55 PM

    How to compare “other benefits” from an employer: time off, insurance, matches, etc. I saw a chart somewhere once and I can’t find it again but I would love to have a way to compare apples to apples between job offers.

    1. J. Money January 6, 2020 at 7:29 AM

      Good one!

  85. J. Money January 6, 2020 at 7:38 AM

    ***Giveaway now over!***

    Big congrats to Nicole, Fe, and Kathy Tyson for winning a free copy of the book. Hope you gals enjoy! Thanks for participating, everyone!